TO: Mayor and Town Council
FROM: W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager
SUBJECT: Calling a Public Forum to Consider Additional Regulation of Leaf Blowers
DATE: November 22, 2004
The attached resolution would call a public forum for January 24, 2005, to receive citizen comment on the issue of additional regulation of leaf blowers and would state the Council’s intent to not consider banning their use within the Town limits.
In the alternative, the Council could conclude that current regulations adequately address concerns related to the operation of gasoline powered leaf blowers.
On balance, we believe no action is necessary in response to this petition.
On September 27, 2004, the Town
Council received a petition from Council Member Cam Hill proposing that the
Town “ban the use of gasoline powered leaf blowers within the city limits of
The petition has prompted considerable public comment to the Town Council, primarily by email. Attached are copies of correspondence compiled by the Town Clerk on this issue, collectively identified as Attachment 4. The Town has also received video tape information which is available for review in the Town Clerk’s office.
Attached is a memorandum from the
Town Attorney evaluating legal issues pertaining to a proposed ban on gasoline
powered leaf blowers as well as other issues, including the possibility of the
establishment of further regulation of leaf blowers and other yard maintenance
equipment (Attachment 2). The Town Attorney’s memorandum concludes
that prohibiting the operation of gasoline powered leaf blowers would likely be
beyond the Town’s authority under
Also attached is a memorandum from the Town’s Interim Public Works Director describing the Town’s use of gasoline powered leaf blowers and evaluating the potential impact a ban on their use would have on the Town’s Public Works operations (Attachment 3). The memorandum indicates that the Town relies heavily on the use of this equipment for a number of tasks.
On the basis of the information contained in these two reports and the correspondence received, we believe that there may be opportunities to consider enactment of additional reasonable regulations on the operation of gasoline powered leaf blowers, but that an outright ban on their use would be legally questionable and would cause substantial hardship on the Town’s own operations, as well as on private landscape businesses and citizens who maintain their own properties.
The attached resolution would
call a public forum to receive comment on the possibility of additional regulations
on use of leaf blowers, but would also state the Council’s intent not to
consider further an outright ban on the use of gasoline powered leaf blowers in
If the Council adopts the attached resolution, we will attempt to notify those persons who have sent their comments to the Town as well as local yard and landscaping businesses of the public forum.
If the Council wishes to consider additional regulation of leaf blowers, we recommend adoption of the attached resolution calling a public forum for January 24, 2005. The resolution includes a statement establishing the Council’s intent not to consider a complete ban on operation of gasoline powered leaf blowers.
In the alternative, the Council could conclude, based on the public input already received and the Attorney and Public Works reports attached, that current noise regulations and federal emission standards adequately regulate leaf blowers and that the Council does not wish to consider this matter further and thus could decide to take no further action on this petition at this time.
On balance, we believe that no action is necessary.
1. Petition from Cam Hill (p. 4).
2. Memorandum from Town Attorney (p. 5).
3. Memorandum from Interim Public Works Director (p. 17).
4. Correspondence and emails from citizens (p. 20).
A RESOLUTION CALLING A PUBLIC FORUM FOR JANUARY 24, 2005, ON THE REGULATION OF THE USE OF LEAF BLOWERS (2004-11-22/R-14)
BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Town of Chapel Hill that the Council calls a public forum for January 24, 2005, to receive evidence related to the environmental impact of the use of leaf blowers and citizen comment on the possibility of the enactment of additional regulations regarding the operation of leaf blowers within the Town limits of Chapel Hill.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council states its intent, based on the evaluation of legal issues by the Town Attorney and the adverse impact on Town operations and private businesses and citizens, to not consider further the possibility of prohibiting the use of gasoline powered leaf blowers within the Town limits.
This the 22nd day of November, 2004.